PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — On Wednesday the Illinois Housing Development Authority approved $19 million for its Strong Communities Program. This is the second phase of the program which helps cities or counties with revitalization efforts for vacant properties.

The City of Peoria and Peoria County will use the funds for demolition.

The city was awarded $712,000 and will demolish approximately 50 homes in the Southside and East Bluff areas.

“Anyone who lives in these neighborhoods, lives next to one of these houses can see that it’s an attracted nuisance,” said Joe Dulin, City of Peoria’s Community Development Director. “It attracts crime. It can be a target for arson. So, the more money we have to be able to invest to take these properties down, the better it is for the neighborhood.”

The county will use the $239,000 it was awarded to demolish 13 homes.

“It eliminates a house or location that really people can get into trouble in,” said Andrew Braun, Peoria County’s Assistant Director of Planning and Zoning. “We see squatters, we see kids playing in these yards. These are houses that pose an imminent threat. Something could fall off the roof at any time.”

Both the city and county will demolish the properties in 2024.